‘Cell out’ is more like “Drop the Ball”

‘Cell out’ is more like “Drop the Ball”

A letter in the Sammamish Reporter, “Cell Out” (Aug. 19) is in the ball park but misses the mark in its criticism of the Sammamish City Council for screwing up the cell tower issues.

One of the first ordinances the first City Council (1999-2001) took up was cell towers. The inherited King County ordinance was deficient. I arranged to bring in a cell tower permitting expert who told the Council about co-location, camouflage, height issues and all the ABCs of how to construct an ordinance that would have prevented the problems that emerged in 2008-2009 in Trossachs and Tibbett’s Station.

Take a read of this previous post, which goes into more detail, including pictures.

Imagine my surprise when in 2009, as a member of the Planning Commission, the Trossachs issue compelled the City Council to send the ordinance to the Commission for re-work and I learned that the permitting expert’s recommendations to the 1999-2001 Council were largely absent. The Commission asked the staff for a number of things to fix the ordinance, but the staff couldn’t find the time to comply with the requests due to workload and a lack of resources (yet another example of how Council policies from 1999 through 2009 sacrificed staff-and-quality for public relations employee-head count-to-population comparisons, but this is another subject). The Commission was put in the position of making cosmetic changes that fell short of its objectives to send revisions to the 2009 Council.

Now, in 2010, the Commission and hard-pressed staff had to revisit and rework the ordinance yet again. And what does the Council do? Schedule a tour to listen to how loud is 45db (the sound of cell tower equipment at ground level). What a colossal waste of time, for the staff and Commission, and for the Council which has better things to do. All because the 1999-2001 City Council didn’t listen and get it right. (And Don Gerend was on the first Council.)

By the way, normal conversation is 50db.

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